December 13, 2022
Melinda Head

“Avatar: The Way of Water”

More than just a film … another technological feat from a man who lives for “difficult”

It’s hard to believe that the inaugural “Avatar” movie was released more than a decade ago (2009). It’s been a long wait for the next fix. Already a technological wonder in its day, the upcoming sequel promises to push technological capabilities to the max. Sci-fi buff, filmmaking magician and ocean explorer, director James Cameron would have it no other way.

Did you know that Mr. Cameron is from Kapuskasing in Northern Ontario?

Kapuskasing is 2,104 miles from Hollywood. Surrounded by the Boreal Forest, pulp and paper is its main industry

Or that Cameron’s first water adventure was provided by the YMCA, where he earned his certification in scuba-diving? Or that he is a self-made man, who previously worked as a truckdriver and never attended film school? Or that his first film was financed by a dentist (who eventually pulled out of the project)? Or, gulp, that he’s been married 5 times (there’s a name for that: ‘multigamist’)?

James Cameron was an inquisitive boy

“Curiosity is the most powerful thing you own.” (James Cameron)

“Avatar” remains the highest grossing film of all time, surpassing $2.9 billion in global box office receipts. That’s more than $11 million for every 60 seconds of the long play movie (262 minutes). The rumor mill says it cost about $460 million to produce and promote “Avatar”, which means its backers received $6 for every $1 they invested in the film. The film won 3 Oscars: Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography and Best Visual  Effects.

Mr. Cameron has come a long way since he raised $20,000 and produced his first short film in 1978. Of course, no money was made, but this essentially “portfolio” piece got him his first real foot in the door of filmmaking … and he has never looked back:

“The man was born with an explorer’s instincts and capacity.” (Daniel Golden, former head of NASA)

Kinda reminds me of the rudimentary style of 12-year old Elon Musk’s first-ever video game, Blastar (1984), which he sold for $500:

Also an inquisitive boy, Elon Musk didn’t fit in and was the subject of viscous bullying

Both men have gone on to become larger than life icons in their own distinct industries.

What shall we expect of the next Avatar installment? Surprisingly, a focus on family.

“What do characters who are warriors, who take chances and have no fear, do when they have children …? Their instinct is to be fearless and do crazy things. Jump off cliffs, dive-bomb into the middle of an enemy armada, but you’ve got kids. What does that look like in a family setting? I was consciously thinking to myself, Okay, all these superheroes, they never have kids. They never really have to deal with the real things that hold you down and give you feet of clay in the real world.” (James Cameron)

James Cameron candidly said that Avatar: The Way of Water was “very fucking (expensive)” to make, “the worst business case in movie history”.

“I like difficult. I’m attracted by difficult. Difficult is a fucking magnet for me. I go straight to difficult … there are lots of smart, really gifted, really talented filmmakers out there that just can’t do the difficult stuff. So that gives me a tactical edge to do something nobody else has ever seen, because the really gifted people don’t fucking want to do it.” (James Cameron)

I say “amen” to that.

Now take what you’ve learned and play today’s Avatar: Way of Water Quiz of the Day:

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4. Have fun and Strut Your Smart!

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About the Author

A serial entrepreneur, Melinda is a sociologist and statistician who believes there is no currency with greater value than knowledge

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